Nall, Gail. Breaking the Ice. 320p. S. & S./Aladdin. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481419116; ebk. ISBN 9781481419130.
Gr 3-6–There is nothing in the world that Kaitlin wants more than to be a championship figure skater. She trains hard and even begins homeschooling in order to realize this dream. But when Kaitlin throws a tantrum after her performance at a competition, she’s dropped by her coach and her prestigious club. When no one else will accept her, Kaitlin joins the Fallton Club as a last resort. Unfortunately, Fallton is known as the Fall Down Club, and Kaitlin doesn’t think that life can get any worse. She soon realizes that the skaters at Fallton are nice and she decides that things might not be that bad. Now her problem is learning a new routine in a very short time frame. Nall’s novel will appeal to a wide audience, whether readers are interested in figure skating or simply looking for a fun read. Kaitlin is a spunky protagonist and the secondary characters are mostly well developed, though one is a stereotypical mean girl whose cruel streak is neatly explained. Figure skating can be a catty environment, so depicting the members of the Fallton Club as encouraging and caring is a sound choice, showing readers that they can be competitive without being nasty. VERDICT A good addition to any middle grade collection, but especially those lacking in female-centric sports stories.–Paige Garrison, Aurora Central Public Library, CO